Ten-year-old Yanek entertains his family with an after dinner light show when the Germans invade his hometown of Kraków, Poland. Days later a wall is built forming the Jewish ghetto. After this, a series of rules change Yanek’s life. No school for Jews. – His father’s business is taken. – Food is rationed. – A curfew is set. – Jews are deported both to concentration camps and into the Jewish ghetto. Yanek’s family must share their apartment with three other families. Yanek must work in a tailor’s shop.
When Yanek turns 13, he and his father sneak out to an abandoned building to give Yanek a secret bar mitzvah ceremony. Soon afterwards, Yanek sees his parents being deported. Yanek decides to keep working at the tailor shop in hopes of not being deported. This, however, it the very reason he is taken. Tailors are needed at the concentration camp. Yanek lives through ten concentration camps and two death marches over the next three years.Continue Reading
Neil Gaiman created an incredible book when he wrote Coraline. It contains just enough unusual and creepy events taking place to keep students begging for more. Coraline’s family moves into a large house in the country. The house is divided into four apartments. Upstairs lives the crazy old man who talks of training mice. Downstairs two old ladies live who once were actresses. The fourth apartment is empty. Coraline is bored with little to do in her new home.
One rainy day, Coraline discovers the 14th door in her apartment that is locked. Her mother uses an old key to show Coraline that the door was used when the building was one large house. The opening behind the door has now been bricked up because there is an apartment next door.Continue Reading
Restart by Gordon Korman is one of those novels that students love so much they pass it around the class. Students will laugh out loud, emphasize, grow angry, and want to help Chase as he struggles with a difficult situation.
Late in the summer before Chase’s eighth grade year, he wakes up in the hospital surrounded by people who say they are his family. Chase has no memory of them or the fall from the roof of his home that caused him to be unconscious for several days. He has a severe concussion and acute-retrograde amnesia. Dr. Cooperman tells Chase he cannot participate in contact sports for a full year. This is a huge disappointment to the football team as Chase is their star quarterback.Continue Reading
Lynda Mullaly Hunt tells a fantastic story in her book Fish in a Tree. Told in first person point of view, the book follows Ally through her sixth grade year as she overcomes many obstacles. Ally does a great job keeping the secret that she can’t read until Mr. Daniels steps in while Mrs. Hall is on maturity leave. Mr. Daniels’s teaching methods prove Ally is extremely bright. He realizes she has dyslexia and tutors Ally after school.
Not only does Ally struggle with reading but also has to deal with a class bully. Not all is bad; Ally makes two great friends. This heartwarming story is sure to make you both laugh and cry. Continue Reading
I am super excited to announce this Growing Bundle for the I Survived Series. When you purchase this bundle, you will receive a total of ten book units for the series. Each novel study will include vocabulary, comprehension questions, constructive response writing organizers, and four skill lessons.
This post answers many questions about this growing bundle. Please download the handouts to receive a free sample from the series.Continue Reading
Lauren Tarshis’s seventh book in her popular I Survived Series tackles the Civil War. In I Survived the Battle of Gettsburg, readers are on the edge of their seats waiting to see how Thomas will survive. Thomas receives injuries from an explosion. Moments later he is shot in the chest.
After reading the tense battle scene, the author flashes back to three weeks earlier. Thomas learns that he is about to be sold away to a plantation down in Mississippi. Without thinking, he grabs his five-year-old sister, Birdie, and runs away. With slave traders hunting him and war raging, Thomas and Birdie travel North. Soon they find themselves in middle of the deadliest battle in all of American history – Gettysburg. Continue Reading
Katherine Applegate writes a beautiful story with a unique main character. Wishtree is told from the first person perspective of a 216 year old oak tree named Red. Red is special in several ways. People write wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches each May. Because of this, Red has witnessed a lot of sadness from humans.
Red tells stories to the animals that live in its hollows about the past. This time Red decides not to be an observer. Red jumps into action after seeing the sadness of a Muslim girl named Samar. Samar’s wish is simple. She wishes for a friend. Red enlists her crow friend Bongo to help make Samar’s wish come true.Continue Reading